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Winnipeg Blue Bombers offence stalls in season opening loss to Alouettes – Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers left out many of their starters in the preseason and definitely showed it entering the regular season.

The Bombers had three turnovers in a 27-12 season-opening loss to the Montreal Alouettes in a Gray Cup rematch Thursday at Princess Auto Stadium.

It is the first time since 2018 that the Bombers have started the season with a loss and it is only their fourth home loss since 2018.

The Bombers only generated 284 yards of net offense and over 80 of those yards came on the Bombers’ final drive of the game when the outcome was already decided.

Head coach Mike O’Shea took the blame for not having his team ready for the start of the season.

“I don’t know if I had them prepared well enough for this one,” O’Shea said. “I’m just missing that step, missing a little bit of that football sense as we went forward. I think we could have done a better job. I could have done a better job preparing them. Those last few practices in training camp probably could have been a little different.

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“I’m more angry at myself for probably seeing this coming and not doing enough about it.”

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But O’Shea still has no regrets about resting many starters during the preseason.

“I don’t think the veteran group really has to play,” he said. “I don’t know if I would change that idea.”

Alouettes receiver Tyson Philpot scored a pair of touchdowns on 141 yards receiving, while Als quarterback Cody Fajardo threw for 254 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.

Quarterback Zach Collaros didn’t look like his usual self, completing 20 of his 33 passes for just 209 yards. He also threw an interception and was sacked twice.

“I certainly wish I had played better,” Collaros said. “I have to do much better for us. And we will improve.”

Collaros did not take a single snap in the preseason and it was his first action since the 110th Gray Cup game in November.

“You never want to panic after a game,” Collaros said. “We have to continue to commit to each other day in and day out and do whatever it takes to get better. “For a man, everyone has to look in the mirror and come back here tomorrow and be critical of the game.”

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Click to play video: 'RAW: Interview with Blue Bombers' Zach Collaros – June 6'

RAW: Interview with Zach Collaros of Blue Bombers – June 6

Running back Brady Oliveira was held to just 38 rushing yards. Dalton Schoen was the Bombers’ leading receiver with five receptions for 62 yards. Johnny Augustine scored his only touchdown with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter to make the score a little more respectable.

The Bombers’ offense and special teams looked especially rusty. New returner Myron Mitchell fumbled a punt return that led to an Alouettes touchdown on the next play. Not much went their way as veteran kicker Sergio Castillo missed two field goal attempts and a conversion in the loss.

“It’s just the first week,” defensive end Willie Jefferson said. “We have a long season ahead of us. We don’t usually lose many games at home, so stay with us. It will be better”.

Bombers receiver Kenny Lawler had to leave the game in the first half with an upper body injury.

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Winnipeg now has a 37-4 record at home since 2018.

The Bombers will again look for their first win in a Week 2 matchup against the Ottawa RedBlacks next Thursday.

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